In the wake of Philippe Coutinho’s egress to Barcelona, as Liverpool supporters have been coping in their own special ways with the Brazilian’s departure, it’s worth stepping out of our own emotional responses to the transfer and having a quick look into the emotional responses of his fellow players who are also living and coping in this post-Coutinho era.
And there’s probably no better Liverpool player to exude delightful responses than Gini Wijnaldum.
“To be fair, it’s still strange,” said Wijnaldum. “I think we still have to realise that he’s gone.”
My emotions dot gif. It’s Coutinho’s magical magician-ness on the pitch that will undoubtably be missed but there’s more. It isn’t just Phil the Player that has left his ex-teammates but also Phil the Man.
“A quality player like Phil, every team will miss a player like that if they leave,” Gini said. “It is what it is. He wanted to go to his dream club. As players we are all happy for him because he was a good guy.
“He was one of the best players we had in the team but as a person he was maybe even the best.
“He was not like ‘I am the best’ or arrogant or something like that. Phil was always a person who listened to the team, who listened to the coaching.
“He was a really nice guy to work with, that is why we are happy for him that he can make the move, but also sad that he didn’t stay because with Phil in the team you are a better team, of course. We all enjoyed to play with him.”
Liverpool will now head out into the post-Coutinho Premier League world against league leaders Manchester City. It sounds worse than it is though really. Liverpool have played and won plenty without the little Brazilian in the side and the players on Jürgen Klopp’s team sheet for Sunday’s match at Anfield should face City full of confidence in their own ability to dominate and get a win.
Wijnaldum, who scored the winner in last season’s New Year’s Eve match against City at Anfield, is expected to make the starting eleven Sunday. When asked if there was any specific persuasion by Klopp to his players to fill the Coutinho void, the Dutchman was adamant that that isn’t Klopp’s style.
“No, the manager is not a manager who would put that kind of pressure on players,” Wijnaldum said.
“Every player is different. The only pressure the manager puts on us is to give 100%. Only if, for example, you’re nervous or don’t try to do the things you’re good at or if you’re scare, then he’ll get angry.
“He’s not a manager to say ‘Phil’s away so you have to step up and do this or that.’
“Also as players he just want us to enjoy the game and try to do our best, use our quality. Then we will see what happens.
“The most important thing is you do it well as a group and not as an individual, you only can win as a group. It makes it easier if every player performs but if you do it well as a group you’ll reach more.”
So, Coutinho was great for the team and great at being a great human being and god speed and thanks for the memories. Love, Georginio.
Now, let’s get this match won and roll on into the sunset as the bastards who wrecked City’s unbeaten run without even needing the unicorn.